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June 22, 2010

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss

Well folks, the Rolling Stone article is out and it makes one thing brutally, inescapably clear. The fact that we're fighting an unwinnable war with an unworkable strategy is the fault of one man and one man alone:

Stan McChrystal.

Despite conducting two "comprehensive strategy reviews" in a single year, the Commander in Chief of our armed forces President of the United States was never actually in charge of the war effort. Obama had absolutely nothing to do with either of the strategies he took credit for announced over the last 15 months. Clearly our President was lied to by the military.

In this, Rolling Stone and Michael Yon are in perfect agreement:

The disembed from McChrytal's top staff (meaning from McChrystal himself) is a very bad sign. Sends chills that McChrystal himself thinks we are losing the war. McChrystal has a history of covering up. This causes concern that McChrystal might be misleading SecDef and President. Are they getting the facts?

I cannot imagine a more conclusive demonstration of Yon's prescient prescience than today's news. Thanks to Yon, we now know that a General who was known for his frankness and repeatedly got into trouble for leaking information the White House wanted kept under wraps was in actuality a secretive control freak determined to suppress the truth at all costs. The Rolling Stone article proves that, doesn't it?

Sure it does. Just remember where you heard it first.

*******

Update: Since the RS article now appears to have been pulled from the Politico website [It's up at Rolling Stone] Here's an abbreviated version of the comments I was working on before the article briefly made its appearance. The whole story is bizarre beyond belief. I read the entire RS article before it was pulled. Not closely enough to produce an in depth analysis, but closely enough to take away the following points:

1. The war is unwinnable no matter who is put in charge of it (final paragraph).

2. McChrystal is something of a jerk.

3. The President, despite having promised to send 40,000 troops to Afghanistan during the campaign, was duped.

4. The military has been running everything in Afghanistan. The State Dept. is underfunded and peripheral to the war effort.

What struck me most was that the author went out of his way to portray the President as a helpless victim of forces beyond his control. If the RS got it wrong then it would seem Obama has some responsibility (no matter how minor RS would like us to think it is) for the current state of affairs.

If RS got it right then I have a problem with this because the President is damned well supposed to be in control. That's his job.

Like pretty much everyone else I can't imagine what McChrystal was thinking when he let this reporter within a mile of himself or his staff. This is hardly the act of a secretive commander who distrusts the press. It's worth noting that the vast majority of incendiary quotes being repeated were attributed to anonymous military aides/staffers and not to McChrystal himself. During the Bush years I often wondered people take anonymous quotes seriously, so it's hardly surprising that I regard the liberal use of such quotes in this article with the same suspicion.

On the other hand, the remarks that were directly attributed to McChrystal are disturbing and inappropriate on their face. It's not that I haven't said many of the same things myself. But then I don't work for Barack Obama. Normally I would say that if the article accurately represented McChrystal's statements, he should be fired.

Unfortunately I'm not sure that's the best outcome. Getting up to speed in an unbelievably complex command environment would be incredibly difficult at the best of times. This is most definitely not the best of times. All in all, this is one of those situations that could all to easily devolve into a partisan blamefest.

Or all parties involved could brush it off and do what is best for the military and the nation. One thing is for certain: I haven't seen that kind of determined attempt to torpedo the war effort since the Bush years. That doesn't bode well for the administration but it may well provide the political cover they need to extricate themselves from a war they never committed to winning. How conveeeeeeeeeeenient.

More analysis here.

Chuck thinks McChrystal did it on purpose:

However, General McChrystal chose to present himself and his staff to the writer from Rolling Stone. I doubt he did this without forethought. I believe that he knew exactly what he was doing, and rather than retire and then join the ranks of other rock-throwing has-beens, he chose to make a bold statement, one which would get a lot more press coming from the current commander in Afghanistan. He would illustrate the issues with the chain of command in a manner that would end badly for him, but would get the maximum amount of coverage possible.

That would certainly explain the Politico's report that McChrystal was allowed to review the article before it appeared and declined to challenge it.

Greyhawk has a different take:

To the political left General McChrystal is a pariah, a guy who usurps the authority of the president; to the right he's a pariah, a guy who does the president's bidding in Afghanistan. The truth doesn't much matter at this point - in the end (and we seem to be moving ever closer to the end) the anti-war right and the anti-war left combined are an irresistible force, whether either side acknowledges the other as fellow travelers is immaterial to the outcome they'll inevitably achieve.

That's pretty much my take. Everyone is looking for a reason to leave, the administration has provided zero leadership and zero reason for the public to support the war effort and the resulting vacuum is sucking all the oxygen out of the room.

The disturbing thing is that according to Obama, this was the Good War. You know, the one that mattered.

The question is: does Afghanistan still matter to this President? Don't expect the answers from Rolling Stone. I'm not sure anyone knows the answer to that question.

Posted by Cassandra at June 22, 2010 10:12 AM

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Comments

Great, just great. The defense of Obama seems to be he is unable to shape the course of events. This is becoming more and more common. In fact it is becoming the definition of his Presidency.

"I inherited the mess,"

and, I can't do anything about it.

Posted by: Allen at June 22, 2010 12:21 PM

The fag in chief.

Posted by: Mark at June 22, 2010 12:27 PM

"Or all parties involved could brush it off and do what is best for the military and the nation."

ROFLMFAO
*wipes away a tear, re-reads sentence*
ROFLMFAO
Good one. That is one of the best jokes evah.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at June 22, 2010 12:37 PM

Oh no, DL Sly... because this time, you see, the adults are in charge.

*rolling eyes*

Posted by: Cassandra at June 22, 2010 12:40 PM

From what little I know, I suspect Lex has this one squared up right tight. I can't imagine, given the people involved, how it could be otherwise.

As I mentioned a few days ago, Jimmy Carter is resting better than he has in 40 years and over half the world now laughs at the U.S.

Obama, take a bow...

Posted by: bthun at June 22, 2010 12:42 PM

Just like the sign on my desk says,

The Buck stops...
somewhere else.

Posted by: BahrackO at June 22, 2010 12:44 PM

The disturbing thing is that according to Obama, this was the Good War. You know, the one that mattered.

It always is when somebody else's ox is being gored. That's just how they are.

Oh no, DL Sly... because this time, you see, the adults are in charge.

Yeah, these nobles were born to rule like PillowC.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 22, 2010 12:48 PM

Never trusted *aa-dolts*...which is why I aspire to never become one.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at June 22, 2010 12:49 PM

Cass when you wonder whether Obama cares about Afghanistan anymore you miss the essence of Obama.
The only thing that Obama cares about is Obama.

Posted by: Mike Myers at June 22, 2010 12:50 PM

Without the logistical support from political or grassroots networks in America, no war effort can succeed at such a far distance.

It's impossible. No logistics, means no victory, no matter what happens far far away.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 22, 2010 12:54 PM

McChrystal also doesn't seem to specialize in politics or Psychological warfare.

Gaining the services or help of, say, Breitbart, would have done wonders for him. But that's what happens when you are responsible for a war, or any task really, and you find that you lack the resources to deal with the problem. Stress happens. And that obviously impacts your judgment.

Surprise is an amazing force multiplier because it not only catches people with their pants down, it also screws up their thinking as they try to catch up.

That is as applicable in the media, PR, and propaganda war front as it is applicable to Afghanistan's hills and mountains.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 22, 2010 01:08 PM

Never trusted *aa-dolts*...which is why I aspire to never become one.

You know the problem with adults and maturity is that having learned through experience, they now think they know it all and that nothing new needs to be tried. Or even that trying to win is futile, because they have experienced defeat or experienced making the US fail before.

But kids don't know any of this. So while they try stupid stuff, they also try a lot of stuff that works, because they have no limiter on. Nothing in their experience told them that it would be "hard" or "easy", nor that it would be "impossible".

A Japanese teacher was able to teach under 10 year olds to play Mozart on the violin by starting at the toddler stage and letting the kids emulate the music they heard, with a violin in hand. The kids got it done, whereas adults have all kinds of reasons to "doubt" that it could be.

The view of a kid is that nothing is impossible.

The view of the adult, that some things aren't possible.

Those two views are sometimes mutually exclusive, but sometimes not.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 22, 2010 01:12 PM

The adults who succeed do so by deciding that it's OK to fail. So they keep trying, even things they doubt they can do, just to see if they can -- and they learn not to mind looking stupid once in a while.

Goodness knows I've failed at a ton of stuff; and I've looked monumentally stupid a time or two. But over time, people forget those failures and notice the few successes you were able to build on. Their eyes turn to the heights.

Posted by: Grim at June 22, 2010 01:25 PM

Gen. McChrystal just hit Obama right where it hurts the most; IMAGE. Increasingly, Obama is showing himself to be an empty Armani suit as he fights public opinion like a salmon swimming upstream to spawn.

While Gen. McChrystal just fell on his sword, rhetorically speaking, he also speaks for the "card carrying" members of the military carrying onerous rules of engagement on a laminated card engaging a determined enemy.

This is a power play by the General to vent his frustration with a President who prefers perception over reality. Even Patton spent time in the so-called woodshed under Eisenhower during WWII. Same for MacArthur under Truman. In both cases the generals were correct on the battlefield but chafed mightily under political constraints. Viet Nam was lost because of a failure of political will even though the war was won.

I don't blame General McChrystal for risking his career against Obama and his Chicago sycophants trying to defund the military for his social programs. The CinC was just sent to the proverbial woodshed by a commanding general who eschews political correctness for the lives of us troops.

Obama is damaged goods. General McChrystal is now a martyr (not damaged goods) for pointing out what is increasingly obvious to the rest of us. POTUS is making the world a more dangerous place and citizens are becoming emboldened to speak truth to power. The progressive's famous bumper sticker is coming back to haunt them;

"QUESTION AUTHORITY" in the instant case is a moral imperative.

Posted by: vet66 at June 22, 2010 01:32 PM

Will the President accept the General's apology, or will he insist that words and promises can't substitute for performance?

Posted by: Texan99 at June 22, 2010 01:47 PM

Well, this should do wonders for moral. Not to mention dividing command between those who see it as their sworn duty to serve the Constitution and the C - in - C (whoever that might be, and however deserving he or she might be), and those who "Question Authority".

After this little temper tantrum by McChrystal, how soon will it be before "political officers" are inserted into the Command structure to report back casual "insubordination" to the civilian leadership in DC?

Duty, honor, country. What was McChrystal thinking and how many officers in his command has he infected with this sort of attitude? If he was that negative, he should resign rather that appear so publicly insubordinate.

Frankly, McChrystal has played right into the hands of Obama. Our President can now sack him and do whatever he pleases, and the sheeple will fall into line. What kind of parent would allow their son or daughter to serve in the military under the situation that is starting to develop?

McChrystal is about to get the Tony Hayward treatment. What a sorry mess our country is in.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at June 22, 2010 01:51 PM

With this, it seems that McC had very inappropriate domestic relations with a canine.
I'd almost buy the "trying to make Obama look bad" except that it would be almost the MOST incompetent and morale-damaging way (never mind damaging to good order adn discipline) that could be managed, compared to - say - resigning and then talking, or rigging it so Obama gets the fall.

Posted by: Darius at June 22, 2010 02:06 PM

Obama is showing himself to be an empty Armani suit...

At least it's "not Gucci"!

Posted by: Grim at June 22, 2010 02:28 PM

I'm bery "Prada" you could make that comment... :-)

Posted by: Darius at June 22, 2010 02:30 PM

After this little temper tantrum by McChrystal, how soon will it be before "political officers" are inserted into the Command structure to report back casual "insubordination" to the civilian leadership in DC?

Already been happening. Mostly concentrated in Air Force and Navy. If it wasn't for Bush's invasion of Iraq, it would have kept on happening in the Army and Marines.

Now that Bush is gone and war is back into a political football like Vietnam, the trend can now re-continue.

What was McChrystal thinking and how many officers in his command has he infected with this sort of attitude? If he was that negative, he should resign rather that appear so publicly insubordinate.

Quitters aren't choosers. You don't get to have a say in the decision making process when you quit the field and run away. Anyone you talk to afterwards will be basing their view of you on 1. whether you left the field cause you were a trembler or 2. you are making stuff up or 3. it's convenient to believe your stories of the battlefield.

Quitting the field automatically discounts your views, because if you cared enough about the issue, you would never have given up control of it. At the same time, if there is a better alternative for McChrystal, someone that can be the Golden Boy that can get Obama to "toughen up" and "be a Messiah", bring him forth.

Where he at?

If nobody is better, then the war is done for. Cause hey, if the General's quitting, ain't a lot of people that will be willingly to be the last man to die for somebody else's mistake of a war.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 22, 2010 04:31 PM

I actually think it was a zero-risk move for McChrystal. Look at it this way: He's going to be fired soon either way, because Obama is going to blow it in Afghanistan. His remaining choice at this point is to choose the manner and circumstances of his termination: he can continue to do the White House's bidding, be made the fall guy when it all goes to hell, and be escorted out the door with his tail between his legs. Or, he can apply appropriate terminology to the digging implement, be fired for that, and depart with his head held high. And his doing so just might benefit his successor (long odds, yeah, but you never know).

Posted by: Cousin Dave at June 22, 2010 04:57 PM

I didn't see an easy way to comment at Chuck's, so I'll say this here.

I read rumors that Chuck is going back into the fight.

Code Monkey, please buy him a jock with a pocket for a cup in it. Said cup should be made of face-hardened chrome-nickel Krupp cemented steel, and at least 3/8" thick. As Lee Marvin said in the movie, the reason you have two is so you'll have a spare if something bad happens. Chuck is running on the spare now. It's like a guy with one eye avoiding situations involving sharp sticks.

Posted by: Justthisguy at June 23, 2010 10:58 PM

Yeah, Chuck will be heading back, but I'm not sure exactly when. He's headed to Iraq, if I have it right.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at June 23, 2010 11:42 PM

I'd almost buy the "trying to make Obama look bad" except that it would be almost the MOST incompetent and morale-damaging way (never mind damaging to good order adn discipline) that could be managed, compared to - say - resigning and then talking, or rigging it so Obama gets the fall.

Posted by: moncler jackets at September 19, 2010 04:16 AM

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